Toronto, Ontario M1E 2P8
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Neighbourhood: West Hill
Wheelchair Accessible: No
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Bring your own bottle: Yes
Kitchen open late: No
Outdoor Dining: Yes
Private/bookable room: No
Take out: No
Takes reservations: Yes
Free Wi-fi: Yes
Good for: Kids, Groups
Serves: Lunch, Dinner
Payment Method: Visa, Amex, Master Card, Interac, Cash
Days Closed: Monday, Holidays
Reader Reviews of West Hill Wine Bar
The Truth of it all by Chef Kanka from Toronto, Ontario on 2015-03-02
"In light of recent reviews I feel very compelled to apologize for and clear up in hopes a few things that those of you that have had negative experiences recently feel that your complaints, concerns and observations are being taken care of.
Firstly to Sophie I must say that I am not pleased with the way our late seating on Valentines day turned out. Please understand that we were woefully understaffed as we had a few team members not join us last minute so I was the only person left to cook for all 80 of my guests and we only had 2 servers as well which made it very difficult for them to get to things in a timely manner.
As far as the temperature of the restaurant is concerned to all patrons I appologize for this as well however like on valentines day when the temperatures outside are below -35 with the wind chill a restaurant like mine that is comprised of floor to ceiling windows and a kitchen that is open and not behind closed doors is very difficult to keep warm on those days especially when the kitchen exhaust fans are running.
I had to keep my hood vents on so that the restaurant and the patrons health and safety are looked after as it is illegal for me to have the hoods off while the restaurant in in operation due to the fact that gas cooking equipment (which my kitchen is full of) lets off carbon monoxide, smoke from the grilling of meats and roasting of food. With the hoods on a lot of the heat that the restaurant creates is lost through this form of vetilation.
Our heat was set to 30 degrees and with patrons coming and going and all other factors with the windows etc made it difficult for us to keep the temperature above 16 degrees.
We have asked the landlord and the owners of the plaza to address this issue along with many others that have made it difficult to operate a fine dining establishment but have been met with nothing but opposition from them.
What bothers me the most is the fact that you posted that we kept the heat low because we are trying to save money, that we charged cash because we are going out of business. You based this on an email you received from a Go Fund Me project that I sent out to our regular clients 1 week after your Valentines Meal.
The truth is to all of you that are reading this is that my business has been growing steadily over the past 2 1/2 years. October 1st - January 1st is our busiest time of year. The prior 2 Christmas seasons were great for us! In the months coming up to this past Christmas season all indications were there that business was going to be just as good as the previous year.
What we could not plan for was an 80% drop in business during this time creating a revenue loss of over $150,000.00. After speaking to the many Chef's, Owners and Suppliers I have become friends with over my past 25 + years in the industry I was made aware that they to ALL suffered a larger than expected amount of lost business.
I have tried for nearly 3 years to make our restaurant into something that the residents in the area so sorely needed and deserved bringing all the years of fine dining experience I have to the table. Most of our patrons and all of our regular guests have made enormous efforts to spread the word about this restaurant and have also supported my vision and dream in the attempts to keep a restaurant of this calibur open and flourishing in there neighborhood.
I have never nor will I ever allow my patrons to feel anything but joy and delight after having been at my venue, however this being said it does happen and every time it does it guts me and enrages me that someone has had a negative experience at my establishment.
You have no idea how it feels to put everything you have, everything you are out there on the line, teo be judged by every single person that walks through my door
Every single plate that leaves my kitchen has been painstakenly prepared for my guests pleasure, all the wines chosen by me, all the drinks and or cocktails designed by me and if I could reproduce or make clones of myself then everything would run fine.
However I have to trust that after I have trained my staff on how things should be made, served or how guests are to be aproached and treated, there is still the possibility that something can go wrong.
When dealing with people on such a primal intimate level one comes to a deeper understanding of how and what people are looking for but on an individual level we are all complex creatures with a million of factors that can affect the outcome of our dining experiences.
Having said that it is near impossible to be able to please every single person every single time they visit my establishment, but do not think for 1 second that that is not what I try to do every time someone comes into my establishment!
So to those of you out there that were at my establishment on Valentines Evening I once again apologize for any lack of service that you received, I am sorry that we were understaffed due to some of our staff not being able to make it in and I am very sorry if any of you felt like you were dining in my fridge as opposed to my dining room due to the fact that it was -35 degrees out or colder.
My industry is a fickle one. Thousands of restaurants open very year an very few ever see it through there first year. The west Hill Wine Bar serves fantastic food, our servers are trained to be courteous attentive to your needs and we strive to give you the best dining experience we can.
If in the future something is not to your liking PLEASE ask to speak to a manager, I am more than happy to try to fix any situation that may arise so that you my guests feel comfortable and at home within my 4 walls.
Thank you all for your continued support and patronage. We hope to see you all again soon."
- Chef Kanka
Freezing 17 Degree Temperatures / Rude Staff by Flo Tini from Toronto on 2015-02-23
"Worst experience ever. It was 17 degrees in the restaurant! No apology for the broken thermostat. Decided to leave before ordering to get to our cars to warm up and tried to settle the bill for just one vodka & soda and they didn't have change for a $20 bill. Had to wait 15 minutes to pay a $8 tab. The chef/owner Chris Kanka came out of the kitchen to stretch, completely ignoring our inquiries as to why the restaurant was colder than the meat freezers. Didn't even look in our direction. We can definitely see why Chris Kanka lost Top Chef because his ego got in the way of providing the panel with a decent poutine. His wife, the waitress, gave no sympathy and sent us rudely on our way. I guess business must be very good for The West Hill Wine Bar because the 3 of us would've dropped $200 in food and alcohol and they didn't care. We travelled from the cornucopia of high end, competitive, trendy restaurants in downtown Toronto, and believe me, it was NOT worth the trip. And the restaurant was empty, except for the poor dedicated patrons eating their overpriced elk with their ski jackets and hats on. Oh, and did I mention 4 items on the menu were not available due to the cold weather? Apparently, The West Hill Wine Bar is the only establishment with windows, which is one of the many excuses they gave for the frigid temperatures. They should be ashamed of themselves."
- Flo Tini
MORE READER REVIEWS
Finally by Dave Rochone from Canada on 2013-10-27
"Searching far and wide for a restaurant in the East end of the city and finally came across a hidden jem.
Owned and operated by Top Chef Canada season 1 competitor Christopher Kanka The West Hill Wine Bar & Restaurant is somethig out of the ordinary.
I live in the Durham region and for years I have had to travel to downtown Toronto to find up to date food.
The West Hill Wine Bar is situated on the Pickering Scarborough border and is a welcome treat to the area.
The chef changes his menu every month. Who does that? He offers local, organic and sustainably hatvested product that is a true delight to taste.
We started with the grilled calamari and de-constructed caesar salad. The calamari was grilled to perfection, soft and supple with just the right balance of sweet and salty toppings and the deconstructed caesar.... well white anchovies home made proscuitto and a dressing that is eggless but so rich well done!
For our mains we had the dry aged beef tenderloin with smoke bleu cheese crusted pomme neuffe and baby haricot vert (green beans). Not only was this dish grilled to perfection but it was availble by the once!!! Yes thats right.... finally a restaurant that lets you choose the size of steak that you want. Never before have my wife or I seen such a thing and we eat out a lot!
For dessert we tried the toblerone fondue! What else can be said but pure decadence.
People please you must try this restaurant the food, atmosphere and service are all top notch and the prices are fantastic.
Downtown food in the east end without downtown pricing.
Why hasn't this place been reviewed yet?"
- Dave Rochone
Excellent meal by Rockfish from Bermuda on 2013-01-12
"I travelled from Bermuda to Toronto specifically to try out this restaurant after hearing some rave reviews. i was not dissapointed. My party (of 3) was treated to a gastronomic delight, suberb service and excellent wine. I can particullarly recommend the Fundy bay lobster which is kept (alive) on premises and looked after by Executive chef and Owner Chris kanka (top chef contestant to boot!). Chef Kanka spent a good deal of time with us and other diners ensuring that all facets of the meal were perfect. I cannot compliment this establishment enough. Well played West Hill Wine Bar, well played.
Fatastic restaurant! by DRosiek from Durham Region on 2012-12-22
"At this restaurant you will find great atmosphere, wonderful service and food that will make your mouth water just looking at it and then when you taste it amazing :)"